The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Karl Terry

Writer's block conquered for another week


I guess I was jinxed by the old familiar question this week.

I got to talking about writing my column with someone and the inevitable finally came out.

“How do you think of something to write about every week?”

I said most weeks it’s really easy. I just write about something that happened or came up that week.

I told him I’d been writing newspaper columns for right at 30 years now. There were a few spaces in there when I either wasn’t at the newspaper or the newspaper didn’t have a spot for my column. But there were also times when I wrote two a week so I figure I’ve roughly written 27 years worth of weekly columns.

I’ve not really missed on holidays or vacations. I never wanted to run an old column or something from the wire in place of my column for fear that someone would break into the goofy column guy’s house since it says here in the paper he’s gone. So I’ve usually turned in extra columns before taking off.

That means that if you multiply 27 years by 52 weeks in the year it comes out to 1,404 columns. My columns average 500 words and that’s probably a pretty good lifetime average for me. I can go on for 750 but I’ve been required to keep it at 300 a few times over the years.

So 1,404 columns with 500 words each means I’ve cranked out about 702,000 words in my columns. That means at this pace it will take me another 593 columns to get to a million words, or about 11 years.

That should depress the hell out of most of my readers. I already write like a cranky old fart most of the time anyway. In 11 years I’ll be closing in on 70 and I really will be a cranky old fart.

By the time I hit a million words in my columns I’ll probably have exactly three people left reading this rot. All three of them will probably have figured out my phone number and call me to tell me how screwed up my memory has become.

They won’t be telling me anything I’m not aware of because my brother already does that to me. I swear most of you are only still reading my columns every week in the hope of catching me in a lie.

When you’ve wasted as much printer’s ink as I have you’ve earned the right to a little poetic license. So what if I tell a windy story every now and then?

It gets easier all the time — the folks I’m writing for are getting old. If they’re like me, they fall asleep halfway through every story they read in the paper and have to start over three or four times to finish.

None of you is really sure after you get up if you’re leaving the room or just arrived. At some point I can really cheat and just start rerunning those 1,404 columns and you’ll never know.

Great. I’ve successfully conquered my writer’s block for another week because that 500th word sailed by about two paragraphs ago.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:


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